The radical anti-tax Club for Growth is spending a total of $32,000 on ads on Fox News and local conservative talk radio on spots arguing that GOP state Sen. Chris Jacobs, who is competing in the special election for New York’s 27th Congressional District, didn’t support Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016.
The TV commercial utilizes a clip of a reporter asking Jacobs if he supported Trump’s candidacy and Jacobs responding, “I am 100% focused on my campaign. I’m running for state office.” The GOP nominee for this still unscheduled special election will be chosen by county party leaders rather than primary voters, so the Club’s media campaign is aimed at persuading this small but important group not to pick Jacobs.
This isn’t the first time this year that the Club has implemented this type of strategy. In March, just before party delegates were to meet and select their special election nominee for Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District, the group spent $16,000 on targeted mailers and an opposition research packet targeting state Rep. Jeff Wheeland. Wheeland, citing negative attacks, ended up removing his name from consideration just before the party assembly began.
However, while the Club is relying on New York GOP leaders’ love of Trump to knock out another opponent, neither they nor Jacobs actually showed any enthusiasm about him in 2016. During the primaries, the Club spent millions on ads declaring, “There’s nothing conservative about giving money to the Clintons. There’s nothing conservative about Donald Trump.” As recently as the fall of that year, the Club’s then-spokesperson, Doug Sachtleben, still used his private account to tweet that his party’s nominee was “petty,” “thin-skinned,” and “like a teenage boy.” However, the Club quickly embraced Trump after the election and never looked back.
It was a similar story for Jacobs, who was running to flip a Democratic-held state Senate seat in the Buffalo area in 2016. During that campaign Jacobs notably refused to say whether or not he was supporting Trump.
That may have been the right call at the time, since Jacobs won the state Senate race 59-39 even as Hillary Clinton was carrying the seat 50-45, but the Club is making him pay for it now despite their own apostasies. But just like the Club, Jacobs has turned himself into a Trump true believer. In May, as he was launching his congressional campaign, Jacobs that he "ran for re-election to assure that President Trump had an ally in this seat." We wonder if his constituents knew that last year when they re-elected him.
Meanwhile, another Republican says he’s close to entering the race to succeed former Rep. Chris Collins. Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw, who said earlier this year that he would run if Collins didn’t, said Monday that he and his wife would “make a decision in the next few days.”
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